Interview by Dr Marina Nani
In our last survey this spring, our readers indicate that they will like to read more about business people who are leading greener initiatives and environmental performance in the foreground of their business planning. Dr Neslyn Watson Druee, went on looking for leaders who are making a difference in the local economy, and are aware of the benefits of ecological sustainability, not only to their company but to the environment we all share. Jacqueline O’Donovan, came at the top of our research, driven by her legendary commitment to reduce carbon emissions and introduce better environmental practices, contributing to a greener business culture.
What inspired you to create your business?
Unfortunately, I wasn’t inspired it was after the tragic loss of my Father at the age of 51, when I was 17, my 3 siblings and I went into the business and after downsizing drastically we started a fresh when I was 19 and I morphed into the MD, since then I haven’t looked back, I like to think outside the box and make waste and recycling exciting and interesting, will designing and developing a state of the art recycling centre in Wembley back in 2015, which was a real challenge for both me and my Commercial Director but we both learned so much from the experience.
We also come under the umbrella of logistics so road safety has been a massive focus for me and the company, I have written courses which was another challenge as I left school at 16 (I ran out of school at 16! Is more the point) we have collaborated with charities and organisations to push best practice and go further. The company is now known as innovators in our sector.
One of my desires was to change the image of the waste industry so I set about applying for awards to highlight all the good work we were doing, so others could share in our knowledge and advance like we were.
What is your solution for reinventing skills and Lifelong learning?
I enjoy teaching and learning so much so I signed up to do the first ever Master’s Degree in Demolition in 2017, I am a trained trainer so I train the Drivers and other staff here in the organisation as I feel the trainer must have an understanding of each other and the challenges every day brings. I am passionate about upskilling people and letting them flourish within the company so they can see there is a future and so much more can be achieved
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome to arrive where you are in your life?
The biggest hurdle was the fact I am a woman in a seriously male dominated industry, and if the truth be known I didn’t even notice it when I was in my twenty’s and early thirties it was when we started on the Award trail about 7 years ago that it came blantiently obvious that I was the only MD in London of a waste company. But, it bothers the men more than it bothers me, I use it to my advantage!
What changes need to happen in your local community so women feel empowered and do things they want to do, by themselves?
Women need to believe in themselves and take a leap of faith, if a woman looks at a promotion or a job spec and they can do 4 out of the 5 jobs on it they don’t apply, where you can bet your bottom dollar a man does and thinks I will wing the one aspect I can’t do. Woman should go for it and not be afraid to say I know that area but haven’t done much in it and therefore would like a bit of training. Training is good, training can’t been seen as a negative, and everyone can’t know everything about a job role.
What changes need to happen in our society so women feel empowered and able to do things they want to do, by themselves?
I think this needs to be a two pronged attack, company’s need to realise that woman have needs that men don’t for example on a construction site separate changing facilities, same for HGV Drivers they need rest and shower facilities in Motorway stops. Likewise woman need to see a hurdle as a challenge and take it on, stop apologising for nothing and be more bullish in their manner to get to where they should be!